67 churches marked wrongly in Mumbai development plan, say activists | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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67 churches marked wrongly in Mumbai development plan, say activists

Authorities of St Francis Xavier’s church, Vile Parle, had objected to the church being marked as a primary school in the proposed development plan a year ago

mumbai Updated: Sep 24, 2017 00:55 IST
Yesha Kotak
Our Lady of Perpetual Succor at Chembur has been marked as St Anthony Church.
Our Lady of Perpetual Succor at Chembur has been marked as St Anthony Church.(HT File Photo)

When the proposed development plan (DP) was released last year, the Archdiocese of Bombay raised objections to the status of 90 churches in Mumbai, saying they had been wrongly marked.

However, when the civic body released its modifications to the plan on its website on September 8, Godfrey Pimenta, trustee of Watchdog Foundation, found that only 28 changes had been made. Now, only 23 of these religious places have been marked. As many as 34 have not even found a mention in the DP.

“The authorities have not carried out a proper inspection, despite our objections. I plan to file a public interest litigation in the high court regarding this soon,” he said.

Authorities of St Francis Xavier’s church, Vile Parle, had objected to the church being marked as a primary school in the proposed development plan (DP) a year ago. They said the authorities assured them that their request would be taken into consideration. “We received an acknowledgment letter after we presented our objection to the planning committee. They said the situation would be rectified. However, we haven’t received an update yet,” said Fr Savio D’Souza, parish priest.

The church was marked as an orphanage in proposed DP 2015, then marked as a school in the proposed DP 2016 and has been marked to an orphanage yet. This is because it shares its compound with Shishu Bhawan, which is run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, and Xavier’s High School and Junior College.

The discrepancies are not limited to just one church — Our Lady of Perpetual Succor at Chembur has been marked as St Anthony Church after the modification.

Officials associated with the DP told HT that as the plan has not yet been finalised, there was scope for the government to examine these objections and make changes. “The DP is not a tourist map. Places marked in it are based on utility. When it comes to religious places, the committee takes a call on it depending on whether they are a part of our heritage list,” said an official.